Christopher Robertson is Associate Dean for Research and Innovation and Professor of Law at the University of Arizona. He is affiliated faculty with the Petrie Flom Center for Health Care Policy, Bioethics and Biotechnology at Harvard, and a reporter for the Health Law Monitoring Committee of the Uniform Law Commission. Robertson also founded the Regulatory Science Program, with support from the University’s four health science colleges.
Professor Robertson is an expert in health law at the intersection of law and science. His research explores how the law affects decision making in domains of scientific uncertainty and misaligned incentives, which he calls "institutional epistemology." His work includes tort law, bioethics, the First Amendment, and corruption in healthcare and politics.
Robertson has co-edited two books, Nudging Health: Behavioral Economics and Health Law (2016) and Blinding as a Solution to Bias: Strengthening Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and Law (2016). In 2019 Harvard University Press published his book, Exposed: Why Our Health Insurance is Incomplete and What can be Done About It.
Blending legal, philosophical, and empirical methods, Robertson's more than 50 articles have been published in law and peer reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine; California Law Review; Cornell Law Review; NYU Law Review; Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics; Journal of Empirical Legal Studies; Behavioral Science Policy; Journal of Legal Analysis; and Journal of Law and Biosciences; among others. His work has appeared in national media such as Wall Street Journal, NBC News, NPR, and the Washington Post.
Robertson has received research support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, AccessLex, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, and the National Institutes of Health. He leads the Law and Behavior Research Lab at the University of Arizona and is a member of the QuantLaw group. He has long served on the clinical ethics committee for the academic medical center, as peer reviewer for leading journals, and on doctoral committees in several social science fields.
At University of Arizona, Robertson launched a major new undergraduate course taught by law professors that exposed students to caselaw reasoning, legal institutions, and the College of Law faculty -- with JD students in preceptor roles. That class was a key part of what became the first BA in Law in the United States – a degree program that in its fourth year has 1,000 students in the United States and abroad. Robertson also secured funding to pioneer an online version of this course. The College has now built a major online program, including a team of digital staff, professional video studio, and dozens of online courses in development for undergraduate, masters, and JD students.
With dean Marc Miller, Robertson conducted a large scientific study to validate the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as an alternative to the LSAT for admission to the JD program – a widely discussed innovation that has been followed by other law schools including Harvard, Northwestern, and Georgetown. Robertson and Miller also created the Distinguished Scholars program. Robertson works with the admissions team to recruit outstanding students into the JD program, and then integrates them into the intellectual life of the College, including weekly faculty lunch workshops, for credit.
Robertson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he also served as a Petrie Flom fellow and lecturer. He earned a doctorate in Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also taught bioethics. Professor Robertson has served as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, NYU Law, and the London School of Economics. Robertson's legal practice has focused on complex litigation involving medical and scientific disputes, and he continues to work with lawyers needing expertise in the social science of decision making and the laws regulating healthcare, science, and corruption.
SSRN Published Papers
- Race and Class: A Randomized Experiment with Prosecutors, 16 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 807 (2019) (co-author, with Shima Baradaran Baughman & Megan S. Wright).
- Affordability Boards: The States’ New Fix for Drug Pricing, 381 New Eng. J. Med. 1301 (2019) (co-author, with Tara Sklar).
- Exposed: Why Our Health Insurance is Incomplete and What can be Done About It (2019). Info available at http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674972162.
- Regulating Off-Label Promotion - A Critical Test, 375 New Eng. J. Med. 2313, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1611755 (Dec. 15, 2016) (co-author, with Aaron S. Kesselheim), available at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1611755.
- Nudging Health: Behavioral Economics and Health Law (2016) (co-editor, with I. Glenn Cohen & Holly Fernandez Lynch).
- Blinding as a Solution to Bias: Strengthening Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and Law (2016) (co-editor, with Aaron S. Kesselheim).
- Why Courts Fail to Protect Privacy: Race, Age, Bias, and Technology, 106 Cal. L. Rev. 263 (2018) (co-author with Bernard Chao, Ian Farrell, & Cathy Durso).
- New DTCA Guidance - Enough to Empower Consumers?, 385 New Eng. J. Med. 1085 (Sept. 17, 2015), http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp1508548.
- The Split Benefit: The Painless Way to Put Skin Back in the Health Care Game, 98 Cornell L. Rev. 921 (2013).
- A Randomized Study of How Physicians Interpret Research Funding Disclosures, 369 New Eng. J. Med. 1119 (2012) (co-author, with Aaron S. Kesselheim et al.).
- Complete List of Publications
New York University School of Law
2016 - 2017
Harvard Law School
2013 - 2014
Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Research & Innovation
James E. Rogers College of Law
2010 - present
Affiliated Faculty, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics
Harvard Law School
2013 - present